Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who was the only Latino candidate in the Democratic presidential field, announced that he would end his 2020 campaign on Thursday.
Castro, who is also a former mayor of San Antonio, formally announced that he would drop his primary bid after failing to qualify for the last two Democratic debates.
“I’ve determined that it simply isn’t our time,” Castro said in a campaign video. “Today, it’s with a heavy heart and profound gratitude that I will suspend my campaign for president.”
Castro did not say what he planned to do next but vowed that he was “not done fighting.”
“I’ll keep working towards a nation where everyone counts, a nation where everyone can get a good job, good health care and a decent place to live,” he said.
The video touted Castro “speaking up for the most vulnerable folks in this country” on the campaign trail.
“We’ve been fighting for those who are often left out, cast aside, marginalized,” he said in the video.
It also included a montage of Castro listing names of people of color who were killed by police or died in police custody, as he frequently did at debates and speeches.
Castro invoked Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Alyana Jones, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Pamela Turner, Stephon Clark and Antonio Arce.
“They deserve justice, too,” he said. “No matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter the color of your skin, you ought to be treated the same under our justice system. I’m the only candidate that’s put forward a plan on police reform.”
Castro also repeated his call for the Democratic Party to change the nominating process.
The Texan ran on an unapologetic progressive platform, calling for unauthorized border crossings to be decriminalized, police and criminal justice reform and tackling inequality. He proposed a tax on inherited wealth, pushed for universal pre-Kindergarten programs and vowed to end hunger.
Castro also cited his credentials as a former Cabinet official under President Barack Obama during a debate exchange with former Vice President Joe Biden about his health care proposal.
“I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not,” Castro told his former colleague.
But despite impressing in the debates and raising the amount he said he needed to stay in the race, Castro struggled to break through in the polls, typically finding himself with 1 to 2 percent support.
Castro frequently criticized the debate qualifying requirements set by the Democratic National Committee. He also called for a reordering of the primary calendar, arguing that Iowa, which is more than 90 percent white, was “not reflective of the United States” and “not reflective of the Democratic Party.”
He slammed media coverage of the primaries after Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., dropped out of the race, arguing that she was “treated very poorly” and was “held to an unfair standard.”
“The media’s flawed formula for ‘electability’ has pushed aside women and candidates of color,” he tweeted after Harris’ announcement. “Our party’s diversity is our strength.”
“If we truly value black women, for instance, and we keep telling them that they’re the key to our success in places like Louisiana and Alabama and that they’re going to be key in 2020, then why do we start the most important nominating process in our whole party, the presidential nominating process in two states that hardly have any black people in them. Doesn’t make any sense, ” he told reporters last month.
Despite struggling in the polls, The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel noted that Castro was one of few candidates who “ended their campaigns with elevated reputations.” Many reporters predicted that Castro would be on many shortlists for vice president.
Indeed, fellow Democrats were quick to praise Castro for providing an important voice in a crowded field.
“I’m going to miss seeing my friend,” tweeted Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. “Thank you, Julián, for bringing your ideas and leadership to this race—your voice and campaign were invaluable in sticking up for underrepresented communities and pushing the field forward.”
“Thank you [Julian Castro] for being a powerful voice, for proposing bold and progressive plans, and for using your campaign to help people who need it now,”Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., added. “You made this race stronger—and you will continue to be a leader in our party and our country for many years to come.”
“Julián brought a bold vision of justice and equality to this race,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., wrote. “He puts people first and speaks up for the most vulnerable. I know he’ll continue to be a leader in the fight to better our democracy.”
Castro concluded his video with a message urging his supporters to “keep fighting for what you believe in.”
“¡Ganaremos un día!” he declared, which translates to “We will win one day!”